A former Samaritans volunteer has compared the experience of attending a Community Awards ceremony to that of cheering at the Olympics.
Jill Shuker, 57, from Manor Lane, Horsham, nominated The Samaritans to win the Community Award for ‘Best Volunteer Group’ last year and as a result she was able to watch them win the award at the uplifting ceremony last October.
“The ceremony was such a wonderful evening. I have been a couple of times and it is tremendous and enriching and so nice to see people who work for the community rewarded by recognising what they have contributed.
“It’s a bit like going to watch the Olympics, clapping for every body there because they are all doing a fantastic job.”
More than 20 passionate individuals, committed community groups and organisations were recognised at last year’s awards - all of whom were nominated by the readership of the County Times.
Nominations are now sought for all the award categories for this year’s event.
Categories are as diverse as: Outstanding Teacher; The Good Sport; Local Hero; Special Recognition; Care for Animals; Friend of the Environment; Charity of the Year; and the 999 Award which recognises members of the emergency services.
Those who make nominations which are shortlisted will receive complimentary tickets to the emotional and heartwarming ceremony, held in association with Horsham District Council at the Capitol on November 20.
Jill used to work with the Samaritans, in Denne Road, Horsham, so she knows how hard they work and knew they deserved an award.
“They have never publicised the fantastic work they do there so people don’t tend to hear about all the amazing work they do.
“But they do a grand job answering the phone 24 hours a day and I think it’s good that this award emphasised that.
“There’s about one hundred volunteers there maintaining the service which is tremendous. I know quite a few people that work there still and about a dozen of them went along to the ceremony. They were thrilled.”
Jill said she enjoyed the ceremony so much last year that she will be nominating someone again this year and she is looking forward to seeing them gain the same appreciation that the Samaritans did.
She said: “I am going to nominate someone again for a different category because I think it’s such a great evening, very very enjoyable.”